Criss Angel is no Houdini


Magician Criss Angel, widely known for his popular A&E TV show "Mindfreak" landed a 10 year deal with Cirque Du Soleil to do two nightly shows at Luxor Las Vegas.

The new $200 million show is called "Criss Angel Believe But I'm sorry, I am having some trouble with this concept.

The word "believe" contains a certain amount of importance in the magic world. Famed magician and escape artist Harry Houdini, fearing that mentalists would attempt to cash in on his reputation after his death, worked out a secret code with his wife Bess. If it was possible to communicate with the dead, a medium at a seance should easily be able to discern the secret. However, no medium was able figure out the code and after ten years of trying, Bess Houdini finally, (and quite literally) gave up the ghost.

Angel (real name Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos) will star in the show as a "surreal, enigmatic Victorian noble," sort of as an homage to the great magician.

In an interview with Las Vegas Magazine, Angel talked about some of the things people can expect to see in his shows:

We [are] doing things that aren’t what anybody has seen or thought possible before. Consider a tornado that will come out of my mouth and wrap around the theater! You will see the things that you see me do on Mindfreak, so to all those skeptics and naysayers that say all those things can’t be done live I challenge them to come and see my live show and you will see everywhere the most insane emonstration of illusions and connect on an emotional journey with me within the show. It is like a song, 50 people can listen to the same song, but all come out with something different that it means to them —and everybody will have a different emotional experience with this.


Personally I have a lot of issues with Mr. Sarantakos. He says that he is a fan of Houdini, but then does whatever he can to use the Houdini image to further his own career, much the same way hack mediums tried to do in the 30's.

The majority of Criss' television show relies more on Hollywood magic than stage magic. Most of his tricks are rudimentary stuff thats been polished up with a lot of fancy lighting, rock music and fast editing. To add to that, a lot of working magicians are not fond of his theatrics either:

If Criss Angel wasn't the mainstream "it" "magic" man, then he wouldn't be the one doing a production with Cirque.

He's marketable, and the returns on the investment will be within a year. Otherwise, banking on anyone else is pointless.


Criss has changed his persona quite a bit as he has grown in popularity. When he first started getting known in the magic world, his appearance played heavily on "the Crow" persona - lots of white face makeup and black harlequin streaks on his eyes. Eventually this morphed into more of a heavy metal, "Korn-meets-Doug Henning" kind of appearance, with braided hair, jumpsuits and an attitude as a badass. Now, he's toned all that down and grown a beard that sort of makes him look like a "blinged-up" Saddam Hussein. There's no telling what his stage show will be like now that he's teamed up with Cirque du Soleil.

"The real illusion here is using clowns and [a] high tech choreographed show to misdirect people away from the fact that Angel has no talent in magic! " one anonymous magician said in a private forum. "The clowns will do all the work, he will get all the credit! "

Sorry, Criss. I want to believe, but you're just too much of a joke.

"Criss Angel Believe" is scheduled to open at the Luxor Las Vegas on Sept 12th.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look at the title in the poster. Notice how the word LIE is stronger than the rest of the other letters?

D. Chris said...

You critics all blow ass. You have some problem with Criss Angel and his performance ability. What are you doing? Sitting on your fat asses staring at the computer screen living a dream? The fact is that you know that he would bury you in anything you fat slobs would try to stand with him in. If dissing Criss Angel helps you feel better about yourselves, if that's your therapy then keep doing it. Maybe it will make that Krispy Cream donut taste a little better you fat pathetic losers.

The Judge said...

OK, fanboy. Go ahead and keep living in denial.

I have nothing against Angel's performance ability, other than to state (once again) that he is nothing more than an over-decorated hack who uses stooges and trick photography to make most of his "Mindfreak" tricks look even more impressive. But at its core, the tricks are rudimentary, simple to execute and uncreative.

Houdini, on the other hand, did things that to this day people are still trying to figure out.

Being a critic means that one is not swayed by charismatic, wanna-be rockstar magicians who think they are better than the guy that busts his ass peddling hot rods and D'lites at the town magic shop. And when a critic like myself also knows more than the average person about how magic is performed, it makes me an expert on the subject for this website.

Criss is a showman, for that there is no question. However his arrogance and personality clash with a lot of people he's come into contact with. My job as an independent journalist is to highlight (and make fun of) those individuals that think they are holier than thou.

And I would make a bet that my handling of "Sinful" could run circles around Angel's. In fact, I could think of a dozen other magicians that could make Angel look simply like a over-blinged wanna-be.

And yes, that donut is mighty tasty.

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